Obesity and weight gain has become a common problem that many experts are calling an epidemic.
Obesity is one of the biggest health concerns in communities across the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s 2011-2014 data, more than one-third (36.5%) of U.S. adults were obese (1).
Fighting obesity is critical, as it is linked to different health issues like high blood pressure, high levels of low-density lipoproteins (LDL or ‘bad’ cholesterol), high triglycerides, high blood sugar, inflammation, poor bone health and lots more.
A 2015 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine identified a high body-mass index (BMI) as a risk factor for an expanding set of chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes mellitus, chronic kidney disease, many cancers and an array of musculoskeletal disorders (2).
Obesity-related conditions like heart disease, strokes, Type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer are some of the leading causes of preventable deaths.
This means if you can fight obesity, you can protect yourself from many deadly diseases and live a healthy life for many more years.
It’s no secret that eating a balanced diet and getting regular physical exercise are the most effective ways to reduce excess weight.
In spite of this, some people never get the results they expect. If this is the case with you also, do not get disappointed. There may simply be something wrong in your morning routine.
When it comes to weight gain, your daily morning routine has a huge influence. Starting the day on the wrong foot can make you gain more pounds rather than losing them, despite regular exercise and eating healthy.
As soon as you wake up, you need to follow some good habits to help you lose weight and become healthier.
Here are some daily morning habits that cause weight gain.
“Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.” This is not just a line in nursery rhymes. In fact, waking up early is good for your health and your weight.
Sleeping too much can cause weight gain. A 2014 study published in PLOS ONE analyzed the data in the survey of a National Representative Sample of 24671 Adults (INPES Health Barometer) on the risks of sleeping too much.
Researchers found that sleeping more than 10 hours a night upped the risk of having a higher BMI compared to those who slept seven to nine hours a night (3).
Getting too much sleep or poor sleep also increases your level of the appetite-stimulating hormone cortisol, which leads to overeating. Sleeping too little is also not good for your weight loss effort.
The National Sleep Foundation recommends that adults get seven to nine hours of sleep every night (4).
2. Skipping Breakfast
Breakfast is the first meal of the day and you must always have your breakfast before leaving the house. If you’re skipping breakfast, you may not be successful in reaching your weight loss goal.
Skipping breakfast messes up your metabolism and your body’s fat-burning capability. When you eat a healthy breakfast, it increases your energy level that your body needs to active its functions and even stabilizes glucose levels.
Plus, eating breakfast helps lower the cortisol level in your blood that can cause overeating and more weight gain.
A 2003 study published in the International Journal of Obesity indicates that overweight children less often. Since numerous studies link skipping breakfast to poorer academics, children should be encouraged to eat breakfast (5).
A 2014 study published in the Journal of Rural Medicine found that skipping breakfast had a greater influence on both waist circumference and BMI than eating dinner three hours before going to bed (6).
Waiting too long to eat breakfast after you wake up can also increase the production of acidic juices in your stomach and trigger inflammation and symptoms of gastritis.
So, it is always a good idea to have a healthy breakfast within the first few hours of getting out of bed.
3. Eating Processed Food for Breakfast
While skipping breakfast can make you gain weight, eating the wrong breakfast can also be bad for your weight.
An unhealthy breakfast can make you feel sluggish, cause you to gain weight and increase your risk of chronic disease.
A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2016 found that eating ultra-processed food was associated with a higher risk of being overweight and obese (7).
To lose weight and maintain a healthy weight, eat a healthy breakfast that includes fiber, carbohydrates, protein and healthy fat that gives you energy and makes you feel full (8).
Some healthy breakfast choices include nuts, whole fruits, green tea, quinoa, oatmeal, smoothies and plain yogurt.
Stay away from pancakes, pastries, donuts, sugary breakfast bars, and packaged juice.
4. Not Enjoying Morning Sunlight
When you wake up in the morning, do not just laze around indoors. Go out and enjoy the sun. Not getting morning sunlight is bad for your weight loss effort.
Sunlight helps speed up your metabolism rate. A 2014 study published in Diabetes found that ultraviolet (UV) radiation suppresses obesity and symptoms of metabolic syndrome, independently of vitamin D (9).
Another 2014 study in the journal PLOS ONE found that blue light waves from the early morning sun boost your metabolism and help your body wake up (10).
So, when you get up in the morning, take a walk or do some yoga outdoors. Even 20 to 30 minutes of sunlight is enough to affect your BMI.
A 2011 study published in Environmental Science and Technology found that exercising in natural environments was associated with greater feelings of revitalization, increased energy and positive engagement, together with decreases in tension, confusion, anger and depression (11).
5. Not Drinking Water
Before drinking your coffee or tea, you should drink a glass of water or lemon water first thing in the morning.
Water intake helps maintain the right temperature and nutrient balance in your body and also aids digestion. Also, water quickly fills up the stomach, so there is less chance of overeating at breakfast.
A study published in Obesity in 2010 reports that when combined with a hypocaloric diet, consuming 500 ml of water prior to each main meal leads to greater weight loss. This may be due in part to an acute reduction in meal intake after drinking water (12).
A 2013 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition highlights the weight-reducing effect of increased water consumption among individuals who are dieting for weight loss or maintenance (13).
So, if you want to lose weight, start your day with a glass of lukewarm water. For best results, add lemon juice and honey to your water. The combination of warm water, honey and lemon creates a more alkaline environment in your stomach, helping you lose weight faster.
6. Avoiding Exercise
If you want to stay motivated to lose weight, morning is the right time. This is why you need to set aside time in your morning routine to do some exercise.
A 2013 study published in the British Journal of Nutrition reports that people can burn up to 20% percent more body fat by exercising in the morning on an empty stomach (14).
But, before you start your exercise regimen, you need to track your weight. A 2013 study published in the Journal of Obesity reports that those who weigh themselves each morning are likely to be more successful in losing weight (15).
When you keep track of your weight on a daily basis, you will have clear knowledge about what causes you to gain weight and what type of suitable changes you can make to your diet and exercise routine to lose weight.
When it comes to morning exercise, there is no need to hit the gym. You can take up running, jogging, swimming or biking.
Also, do not forget to do some stretching before you start exercising. Stretching helps loosen up your muscles, clear your mind and get your body ready for the day.
- Overweight & Obesity. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/obesity/data/adult.html. Published March 05, 2018.
- Health Effects of Overweight and Obesity in 195 Countries over 25 Years | NEJM. New England Journal of Medicine. http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1614362.
- The Risks of Sleeping “Too Much”. Survey of a National Representative Sample of 24671 Adults (INPES Health Barometer). Advances in pediatrics. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4165901/. Published 2014.
- How Much Sleep Do We Really Need? National Sleep Foundation. https://sleepfoundation.org/how-sleep-works/how-much-sleep-do-we-really-need.
- Longitudinal study of skipping breakfast and weight change in adolescents. Nature News. https://www.nature.com/articles/0802402. Published September 26, 2003.
- Skipping Breakfast is Correlated with Obesity. Advances in pediatrics. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4310153/. Published 2014.
- Ultraprocessed food consumption and risk of overweight and obesity: the University of Navarra Follow-Up (SUN) cohort study | The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition | Oxford Academic. OUP Academic. https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/104/5/1433/4564389. Published October 12, 2016.
- High Carb and Protein Breakfast that Includes “Dessert” Improves Weight Loss Maintenance. EndocrineWeb. http://www.endocrineweb.com/professional/meetings/high-carb-protein-breakfast-includes-dessert-improves-weight-loss-maintenance.
- Ultraviolet Radiation Suppresses Obesity and Symptoms of Metabolic Syndrome Independently of Vitamin D in Mice Fed a High-Fat Diet. Diabetes. http://diabetes.diabetesjournals.org/content/63/11/3759?sid=9e5331c1-d084-4fcc-abd4-2bae0c696d19. Published November 01, 2014.
- Timing and Intensity of Light Correlate with Body Weight in Adults. PLOS Medicine. http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0092251.
- Benefits of outdoor exercise confirmed. ScienceDaily. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110204130607.htm. Published February 5, 2011.
- Water consumption increases weight loss during a hypocaloric diet intervention in middle-aged and older adults. Advances in pediatrics. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19661958. Published February 2010.
- Association between water consumption and body weight outcomes: a systematic review | The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition | Oxford Academic. OUP Academic. https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/98/2/282/4577135. Published June 26, 2013.
- Lose fat faster before breakfast. ScienceDaily. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130124091425.htm. Published January 24, 2013.
- The efficacy of a daily self-weighing weight loss intervention using smart scales and email. Obesity (Silver Spring). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3788086/pdf/nihms436312.pdf.